The Bears had hoped to come out strong after their bye week and rebound from a deflating loss to the Raiders in London. But the exact opposite happened on a forgettable Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
The Bears struggled at times in all three phases in a disheartening 36-25 loss to a Saints team that played without quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook.
The Bears hoped their bye week would cure their ills on offense, but the unit continued to regress Sunday. They mustered just 252 yards and 16 first downs and converted 2-of-12 third downs. Through three quarters, the Bears offense produced only 85 yards and four first downs.
In losing their second straight game, the Bears fell to 3-3.
The Saints recorded a safety on the game's opening possession to take a 2-0 lead. After the Bears went three-and-out, J.T. Gray blocked Pat O'Donnell's punt into the end zone. O'Donnell alertly batted the ball out of the zone, preventing the Saints from recovering for a touchdown.
The Bears then lost their first fumble of the season when safety Vonn Bell stripped the ball from Anthony Miller on a sweep and recovered the fumble at the Chicago 24.
The Saints converted the turnover into Teddy Bridgewater's 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Josh Hill on third-and-goal, widening the margin to 9-0 with 3:14 left in the first quarter.
Cordarrelle Patterson followed by providing a much-needed jolt of energy, returning the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. The score awakened a dormant Soldier Field and cut the deficit to 9-7.
After the Saints went three-and-out, Mitchell Trubisky completed three passes for 33 yards to Allen Robinson II, setting up Eddy Piñeiro's 46-yard field goal that gave the Bears a 10-9 lead early in the second quarter.
The Saints retook a 12-10 lead on Wil Lutz's 39-yard field goal with 6:31 left in the first half.
New Orleans then deflected a second O'Donnell punt that traveled 34 yards. But Lutz missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt.
The Bears offense struggled mightily in the first half, mustering just 81 yards on 29 plays while being limited to four first downs. The unit converted just 1-of-7 third-down plays and rushed for 11 yards on five carries.
The defense, meanwhile, kept the Bears in the game. The only TD the unit allowed came on a drive that started at the Chicago 24 after a turnover. In addition, defensive backs Buster Skrine and Prince Amukamara both broke up passes in the end zone.
Trubisky completed 13 of 23 passes for 78 yards. He twice missed open receivers on third down, failing to connect with Taylor Gabriel and Miller.
The Saints increased their lead to 26-10 with 75- and 76-yard touchdown drives in the second half.
First, they made it 19-10 on the opening possession of the second half on Latavius Murray's 3-yard touchdown run. The TD came one play after Bridgewater's 45-yard pass to Ted Ginn.
On the Bears' first play after the TD, safety Marcus Williams forced a David Montgomery fumble that was recovered by linebacker A.J. Klein at the Chicago 29.
Though Lutz followed by coming up short on a 52-yard field goal, the Saints later made it 26-10 on Bridgewater's 4-yard TD pass to Taysom Hill late in the third quarter.
The Saints continued to pile up the points, as Lutz added a 30-yard field goal late in the third quarter and Murray rushed for a 4-yard TD.
The Bears finally got into the end zone with 2:31 remaining in the game as Trubisky threw a 7-yard TD pass to Robinson and connected with Adam Shaheen on the two-point conversion.
Following a successful onside kick, the Bears found the end zone for the second time in the quarter. This time, Trubisky threw to Javon Wims for a touchdown with 48 seconds remaining. It appeared that Piñeiro was able to again convert the onside kick attempt, however it was ruled that Ben Braunecker's foot was out of bounds when he recovered the loose ball.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the New Orleans Saints in Chicago.